JFK: America's First Post-War, Tax-Cutting President

John Kennedy and Ronald Reagan -- two presidents whose historic inaugurations we remember today.

Two presidents who, save their obvious charisma and good looks, you probably wouldn't find many other similarities today.

But you'd be wrong. There's a big one. A really big one.

Tax cuts.

Reagan's were big, but JFK's were first. You heard me right. John F. Kennedy -- our nation's first post-war tax cutter.

Don't believe me? Believe JFK himself addressing the nation on August 13, 1962.


PRESIDENT JOHN F. KENNEDY: This can be the most important step we can take to prevent another recession. That is the right kind of a tax cut, both for your family budget and the national budget. Resulting from a permanent, basic reform and reduction in our rate structure. A creative tax cut, creating more jobs and income and eventually more revenue. And the right time for that kind of bill it now appears, in the absence of an economic crisis today and if the job is to be done in a responsible way, is January 1963. Such a bill will be presented to the Congress for action next year. It will include an across the board, top to bottom cut in both corporate and personal income taxes. It will include long-needed tax reform that logic and equity demand. And it will date that cut in taxes to take effect as of the start of next year, January 1963. The billions of dollars this bill will place in the hands of the consumer and our businessmen, will have both immediate and permanent benefits to our economy.


Did you hear that? Do you remember that?

JFK would get his wish -- sadly, after his death. But the economy would boom just as he said. Proving these two very different Irish-American presidents maybe weren't all that different, after all.

One dared to ask not what the government can do for you but what you can do for your government. And the other whether you were paying just too damn much for that government.

But think about that -- different presidents, same message. There's a limit to what government can do, but no limit to what less burdened taxpayers will do.